In a matchup of two teams looking for their first NCAA championship, Massachusetts used solid defense and opportunistic offense Saturday night to blank St. Cloud State 5-0 in Pittsburgh and win the men's hockey national title.
Filip Lindberg turned away 25 shots for the Minutemen (20-5-4), who got goals from Aaron Bohlinger, Reed Lebster, Philip Lagunov, Matthew Kessel and Bobby Trivigno. It was a 180-degree turn from their appearance in the 2019 title game, where they were shut out by Minnesota-Duluth.
Lagunov's goal was easily the most spectacular of the night. Skating down the right side with the Minutemen shorthanded, he dangled around a defenseman and then beat David Hrenak with a backhander from the slot for his fourth goal.
Hrenak stopped 17 of 22 shots for St. Cloud State (20-11-0), which reached the finals with a last-minute goal by Nolan Walker Thursday night that eliminated Minnesota State 5-4. But the Huskies couldn't quite come up with that kind of magic against a composed opponent that played a sound game.
Massachusetts initiated scoring at 7:26 of the first period as the result of a collision between two St. Cloud State skaters that led to a 2-on-0. Ryan Sullivan fed Bohlinger at the left post and he made no mistake for his first goal.
The Minutemen made it 2-0 at 18:56 when Cal Kiefiuk drove to the net and tried a wraparound at the right post. It skittered into the slot, where it deflected off Lebster and over the goal line for his second marker of the season.
After Lagunov's tally, Kessel made it 4-0 on the power play at 13:45 of the second period. Oliver Chau teed him up at the top of the right faceoff circle and Kessel wired a one-timer through traffic for his 10th goal of the season.
Trivigno capped the scoring at 6:00 of the third period off a breakout pass by Lebster. Skating down the left side, Trivigno uncorked a wrister over the shoulder of Hrenak for his 11th goal.
--Field Level Media